DJ Spooky

Celestial Mechanix: The Blue Series Mastermix

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AllMusic Review by

Horns echo over broken beats and voices ping and pong as DJ Spooky takes all of the releases in Thirsty Ear's Blue Series and gives them some serious crinkling, crumpling, and stretching on Celestial Mechanix: The Blue Series Mastermix. The challenge of the Blue Series is to take artists from different genres and break down the stylistic barriers between them. Heavy in concept for sure, but the series has offered up more than its fair share of outstanding records. Many releases have delivered on Thirsty Ear's promise of hearing "the shape of jazz to come," but Celestial Mechanix is all quirky, illbient, and echoing Spooky. Then again, with such a sprawling selection of tracks that are already unclassifiable, what was the guy to do? The tracks on the first disc are remixes that contain "elements" of different Blue Series releases, and it's the lesser of the two discs. If it wasn't for all the flutes, saxes, and the voice of Saul Williams, this could be an old Byzar or mid-period Ben Neill record with that atmosphere-over-direction aesthetic and a good bit of excusable noodling (the exception is Spooky's moving, melancholy, and purposeful take on Craig Taborn's "Shining Through"). Had the mix on CD two been placed first, the collection would work a lot better. Spooky's disc-one constructions pay off on the "anything goes" mixed disc two. It's like listening to some undiscovered late-night radio station where the DJ has excellent taste in music along with a digital delay, and the station's program guide just lists the show's genre as "freeform." It's murky but goes somewhere, and Spooky has somehow come up with a flow to these wildly divergent tracks. Things start with rap, electronics, and dub but end on the jazzy, organic tip with a slow, smooth transition. The whole trip has less to say about the possibilities of music than other Blue Series releases, but as a dubby, guilty pleasure for academics, it works. Slaves to the esoteric, come get your fun.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
0:37
2
3:27
3
3:30
4
1:33
5
feat: Mike Ladd
0:56
6
feat: Mike Ladd
2:20
7
0:32
8
2:47
9
3:28
10
2:21
11
3:43
12
2:40
13
2:01
14
2:46
15
feat: J-Live
3:04
16
1:44
17
feat: DJ Wally
1:44
18
1:04
19
1:41
20
2:55
21
0:50
22 1:49
23
0:25
24
2:43
25
feat: Blend
1:46
26
0:46
27 4:18
28
1:44
29
4:01
30 1:40
31
3:07
32
feat: DJ Wally
3:00
33
2:24
34
feat: Craig Taborn
2:32
35
1:04
blue highlight denotes track pick